13th May
It was on this day...
1981 Pope John Paul II Is Shot

Pope John Paul II is seriously wounded. He was in an open car on his way to his weekly general audience in Rome's St Peter's Square.

He was shot by 23 year old Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turk.

Four shots were fired, the Pope was hit in the abdomen and his left hand. Two others were injured: American Ann Odre, 60, was hit in the chest, and Jamaican Rose Hill, 21, was hit in the arm.

Bystanders knocked the gun out of Agca's hand and held him until police arrived.

The Pope was rushed to Rome's Gemelli Hospital. After 5 hours of surgery he was listed as critical but stable.

The Pope would be released from hospital 3 weeks later, fully recovered from his ordeal.

Agca had escaped jail in Turkey apparently intending to shoot the Pope.

In his pocket a note was found, it read:

"I am killing the pope as a protest against the imperialism of the Soviet Union and the United States and against the genocide that is being carried out in Salvador and Afghanistan."

Agca was sentenced to life in prison.

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